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Amnesty Hearings

Type AMNESTY HEARING

Starting Date 03 December 1998

Location PALM RIDGE

Day 8

Names SIPHO STEVEN NGUBANE

Case Number AM7295/97

CHAIRPERSON: We would like to re-start. The next matter, I'm informed is that of Mr Sipho Steven Ngubane, AM7295/97. It is at page 188 in the Lusaka A bundle. Mr Ngubane do you hear me?

MR NGUBANE: Yes, I can hear you.

CHAIRPERSON: Very good.

SIPHO STEVEN NGUBANE: (sworn states)

EXAMINATION BY MR SIBEKO: Mr Ngubane, you have also applied for amnesty, is that correct?

MR NGUBANE: That is so.

MR SIBEKO: Were you also a member of the Self Defence Unit, Lusaka A?

MR NGUBANE: That is correct.

MR SIBEKO: When did you join the Self Defence Unit?

MR NGUBANE: When it started during the year 1993.

MR SIBEKO: Who was your commander?

MR NGUBANE: It was Moosa Msimango.

MR SIBEKO: Before the year 1993, were you involved in any incidences of violence in Thokoza?

MR NGUBANE: Yes, that is correct.

MR SIBEKO: Do you mind telling us about those incidences?

MR NGUBANE: During the year 1991 and 1992, I was involved in some incidents of violence. We fought as members of the Youth League, together with Numsali Khumalo or against Mr Khumalo, his first name is Mbekesele. I was deeply involved, so much so that we even planned the bombing of his house, I was present during the planning.

MR SIBEKO: The Mr Khumalo that you are talking about, is he the one who has been referred to as part of the Khumalo gang, or the leader of the Khumalo gang?

MR NGUBANE: That is so.

CHAIRPERSON: What was he, did he belong to a church or was he a church minister, or what was he doing?

MR NGUBANE: That is correct.

CHAIRPERSON: Did they refer to him as the archbishop, or what?

MR NGUBANE: That is so. We knew him as Mr Khumalo, he was a minister.

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, you may proceed.

MR NGUBANE: I would like to start from scratch as to where this whole thing began which culminated to the violence. The members of the ANC Youth League, at the end of the day, we discovered that they were now collaborating with Mr Khumalo, that was before the violence started. They were involved with Mr Khumalo with the sole intention of looking for a certain man who went by the name of Mr Mugabe, who was conducting a reign of terror in the residential area.

ADV GCABASHE: Who was looking for Mr Mugabe, Mr Khumalo and the people who collaborated with him?

MR NGUBANE: It was Mr Khumalo, as well as our members, members of the ANC Youth League.

ADV GCABASHE: And were you saying there were two members of the ANC Youth League who were collaborating with Mr Khumalo?

MR NGUBANE: There were quite a few, but there were more than two. As they were working hand in hand with Khumalo, they were also looking for Mugabe, that's why they worked with Mr Khumalo. One of them was Mampuro, Eric Thozamile Mhlauli, Nxdisi, Tshabalala, as well as Desire Xaba, these are the ones that I remember.

ADV GCABASHE: Can you just start again, Mampuro?

MR NGUBANE: It was Lucky, Mampuro, Nxdisi, Tshabalala, Desire Xaba.

ADV GCABASHE: It's a lady, Desire, it's a man?

MR NGUBANE: No, Desire is a male. As well as Thozamile Mhlauli. What led to Mugabe being hunted, we also wanted him as the members of the Youth League, or I could say the whole of Thokoza, because he was conducting a reign of terror, he was terrorising the community, and Lucky Mampuro was mainly concerned because Mugabe killed Lucky Mampuro's uncle, he was together with his other friends, and Mr Khumalo was also hunting Mugabe down. When we got to know him, we knew him as a person who was fighting against the acts of violence, because we did also not go along with acts of violence, that is how Lucky and the other people that I've counted ended up collaborating or working with Mr Khumalo, because Mr Khumalo had a car and they were able to access a number of areas that is tracking down Mugabe. Mr Khumalo was also supplying the three members or the four members, rough counted, with bullets and they got some of the guns from him, and as time went on, Mr Khumalo now started changing, he underwent a drastic change, so much so that he ended up victimising everyone, even according to the attire that you are wearing, if you were wearing tackies, he would regard you as some thug. As a result, some of the innocent members of the community or society were killed by the Khumalo gang on the basis of what they were clad in.

ADV GCABASHE: But tell me, the people who comprised the Khumalo gang at this stage, were they the same people, Lucky, Nxdisi, Desire and Thozamile and Khumalo, or had the membership of this gang changed now?

MR NGUBANE: The ones who were with him before were not members of the Khumalo gang. When he formed this Khumalo gang, he already had recruited, or had been able to acquire some new membership. As people now were no longer able to get thoroughfare in Mr Khumalo's street, there were now rumours, rife rumours, that we had some members of our Youth League who were collaborating with Khumalo and they went around killing people. Lucky, Mampuro and myself were living in the same street, we got together with other comrades who were nearby and called them or summoned them to a meeting.

MR SIBEKO: Who were these people you called to a meeting?

MR NGUBANE: It was Lucky, Mampuro, Desire, Nxdisi, as well as Thozamile, the four that I had already mentioned who were our members. We summoned them to tell them about the rumours that were rife about their involvement with Mr Khumalo and were also terrorising members of the community. We wanted them to tell us their position as to whether they were members of the Khumalo gang or they were still members of the Youth League. The reply they gave us was that they were actually looking for Mugabe and there were places that they could not access without transport, that is the reason why they were working hand in hand and were close to Mr Khumalo, and that Mr Khumalo was providing them with arms and ammunition, so it was easy, far easier to work with him than to work alone or all by themselves as members of the Youth League, but at some stage they did realise that he was now becoming a law unto himself, he was getting involved in terrorising the members of the community, and they actually wanted to sever their ties with him. They decided to distance themselves from him and the guns or the pistols that were in their possession, that is the pistols they got from Mr Khumalo, were never returned to Mr Khumalo, they were kept amongst the members of the Youth League, I think that is where the trouble have now started, because weeks following, as I was just standing close to my house, I saw some cars, that is the Thokoza Taxi Association cars or taxis, driving up and down the street. I was very concerned and I had to call Lucky Mampuro to alert him to what I saw or what I was witnessing as I was standing there.

ADV GCABASHE: Just give us a rough date when this happened now, this incident of the taxis driving up and down?

MR NGUBANE: This incident was a 1991 incident, I'm not sure as to the date or the month, this is the incident preceding the violence itself. The situation was becoming now tense and I decided to take my gun from the house. My gun is a 357. As I was standing outside the house, Lucky went to his house and I went across the street. I was standing with a certain woman, a certain lady, as we were standing there, this brown Cressida approached, I think it was written TOTA, which stands for the Taxi Association, it's actually an abbreviation. I think I was on the driver's side but quite a distance from the car itself. On the passenger's seat was Mr Khumalo. He had a gun, a 303 gun. He pointed the gun out, that is on the driver's window, from across the seat, he pointed towards me and I pushed this woman who was standing next to me, I also took out my gun and I ducked at the same time, I also pointed towards their direction. What I noticed was that they ducked from inside the car and I picked myself up and ran into the nearest house, jumped the fence over to the opposite or following street.

ADV GCABASHE: Tell me, your gun, your 357, and this 303, are they large guns or small guns?

MR NGUBANE: A 357 is a revolver. A 303 is as big as I'm indicating. It has a scope at the top.

ADV GCABASHE: It's a rifle, the 303?

MR NGUBANE: That is correct, I could say that.

ADV GCABASHE: Were any shots fired in this exchange?

MR NGUBANE: Yes, there were shots fired, I was still coming to that.

ADV GCABASHE: It's all right, take it the way you want to do it, ja.

MR NGUBANE: I crossed over to the following street now fleeing Mr Khumalo and this brown Cressida driver. They went around the corner trying to approach me from a different angle. I jumped the same fence going back to the very place I was coming from, now trying to confuse them. That's when I started shooting up, I only shot once, I fired one shot upwards or pointing my gun upwards. Because the car took some time to go around the corner, they took time to approach.

By the time the car approached, Lucky Mampuro had already gone out of the yard and he was having his AK47 in his possession. It was just after we had spoken about the tense situation that prevailed in the area, and as the car approached, it came across Lucky. He did not ask many questions, he just fired. I came and joined him, I also fired some shots. This car drove off, this brown Cressida.

As we were still standing there, shocked about the incident, there were other members of the group, that is other comrades, who were quite close to us, the likes of Comrade Dangi Mtembu and Mdesi, Bafana, Banoi, as well as others who were not known to me, but I believe that they were also comrades, because they had come with Bafana, or they had been brought by Bafana.

As we were still trying to grasp what had just happened, I relayed to them that I personally saw Mr Khumalo and I was able to positively identify him. Then we realised that their behaviour meant that they were waging a war against us. Dangi Mtembu said that he was going to ...(indistinct) Mavumela Section to go and fetch an AK47. Lucky Mampuro said he would go and organise some bullets, so that we could have sufficient bullets.

They came back in taxis and there were two white Datsun Laurels. Myself as well as the other comrades I was standing with at that point, we tried to protect ourselves, because at that stage now they were ...(indistinct) a drive-by shooting and they would shoot at one street, when we ran to the next street, we would find other cars in the following street. At some stage when trying to jump the fence, I lost my balance, I fell and broke an arm, that is the left arm. Because it was a war situation, we tried to tie the hand with a piece of cloth and we continued defending ourselves until such time that the cars sped off.

I went to the hospital late that afternoon, that is at Baragwanath Hospital. I wasn't able to go to the Spruit Hospital, because they used to go there whenever a person was admitted in that hospital. I came back that very same night in a plaster of paris, then the following day we convened, that is myself, Lucky and the others. There was relative quiet and calm that morning.

I was always at home, always around, I don't know where Lucky had gone to that particular morning, but I was with other comrades. We saw Mr Khumalo's kombi being driven by Mzwaki, who is Mr Khumalo's son. The occupant was Peter, who was occupying the passenger's seat. He had a gun, it was protruding through the window, and he was busy firing as the kombi was speeding past.

ADV GCABASHE: Now that was Peter, not Mzwaki, who was shooting?

MR NGUBANE: It was Peter, Mzwaki was driving and Peter was busy firing. When this kombi sped past with him firing about us, we were standing around, we ducked for cover. I had a gun, I took out my gun and ran after their kombi, but when this kombi drove past us, it was quite unexpected, by the time I was alerted to it, it was quite late, so when I tried to run after it, it went around the bend, or the corner, I followed it and it went around the corner. By the time I followed it towards the direction, it went out of the section.

As we were still discussing this issue of this kombi and the seriousness of this drive by shooting, I took a carton, or a box, I think it was a big box, it wasn't very big but it was a brand new box, I think it was smallish, as I'm indicating, I put my gun inside and put it on the lawn, nobody would have been able to notice that there was a gun inside. As we were still standing there, the very same kombi came back, followed by a grey Mercedes Benz, as well as a police van.

We ran off, some others were able to jump the fence over to the next street. Unfortunately I wasn't able to jump because I had already broken my hand earlier on. I tried to take cover and hide myself. We hid ourselves. There were back rooms that were being erected in that particular yard and we hid ourselves behind the back rooms.

I just saw a person approaching from above the rooms pointing a 9mm on my head. He was approaching from above and he said I should not move, because should I move he would kill me. That is how they were able to arrest me. They swore at me, insulted me and told me that I was a dog.

I was taken into the police van, which was driven by one policeman who went by the name of David, but he was known as Desa, commonly called Desa. I was put into the van and there was one man who was inside the van and he was bleeding. He had a gunshot wound on the foot. I asked him as to why he was arrested. He said he had been shot by the Khumalo gang and he had been branded a tsotsi or a member of a gangster. We went to Lucky Mampuro's place. It was Khumalo, I've forgotten the owner of the Mercedes, but it was Khumalo's brother, it was Mpekelele, Mzwaki, Peter and another Khumalo boy, all of them had guns. They stopped at Lucky Mampuro's place.

They rushed into the yard and Peter kept on making some utterances to the effect that if they got Lucky, they ought to kill him, but unfortunately for them, they did not get Lucky, so they took me with and this van was following us. We proceeded to Maboya Section, that is Dangi Mtembu's place. I do not know who directed them or who told them where each and every one of us stayed. They weren't able to get Dangi. We proceeded to Natalspruit, that is Mavumela Section.

ADV GCABASHE: You went to Dangi's place at Natalspruit or at Spruitview?

MR NGUBANE: In Thokoza, Maboya Street.

ADV GCABASHE: Ja, and he wasn't there. Okay, continue.

MR NGUBANE: We did not get him. From Dangi's place we went to Spruit, Katlehong, Mavumela Section. When we got to Mavumela Section, at the tarred road these cars stopped, they congregated, they talked, discussing that the kombi was going to go first, was going to lead the way and the other cars would come behind. The kombi and the Mercedes took the same direction and myself and this other guy inside the van took a different direction, approaching the area from the back or the street from the back.

When we got in, I saw Dangi at the corner, he was wearing a lumber jacket, he had an AK47 in his possession. I don't remember who he was with, but he tried to peep through the van to see as to who was inside there. I told him the situation was bad and that he should run for his life and he should not let them catch him. Because Thokoza and Spread are divided by only one street or road, Dangi went across the road and proceeded to Thokoza, himself and the other man he was with.

Khumalo and his gang waited in front of this yard, they went inside looking for Dangi, but they could not get him. I think they got some information that he had just gone to Thokoza. We went back to Thokoza, we proceeded to Lusaka B. As the cars were approaching, I could see Dangi a bit further down, but he took out a gun and stood right in the middle of the road with his AK47. All the cars stopped. They got out of the cars, but they were scared to go to him. I don't know how he managed to escape and where he went to.

They took me to the Thokoza Police Station. When I got to the Thokoza Police Station, the policemen that we got there were clearly working hand in hand and collaborating with the Khumalo gang. Khumalo was prancing around, walking up and down as if he owned the place and he knew the people. They took me to the back of the police station. You go past the charge office, and I was put into some cells in there. I was never asked any questions.

Whilst I was still in the charge office, I heard Khumalo telling the police that, "These dogs need to be killed" and he would come back at 1:00 a.m. to pick us up to go and kill us. So they took us into these cells. I think we were awaiting our death under the hand of Khumalo.

ADV GCABASHE: Khumalo was going to come back at one o'clock. At what time was this roughly that you were in the charge office?

MR NGUBANE: I'm not sure, but it could have been 2:00 p.m. We were left there and Mr Khumalo left the police station. I was put there and in that place I was able to see the charge office itself.

Khumalo was back within 30 minutes of having left us there. He had a box with him which had Hunters Gold inside, or cans of Hunters Gold. He had brought some alcoholic beverages to the policemen who were at the charge office. That made it clear that this was their mode of operation.

Maybe I was not the first one to be brought there and be kept there, and he would go out, buy some liquor, then he would come back and pick his victims up. Other comrades tried to organise, phone places like the Shell House to report abduction or so-called arrest, so as to alert other members of the organisation. Then this one member of the ANC who came to the police station, together with another one, one was Mbongeni Gadebe, I don't remember who was accompanying him.

They got to the charge office and asked as to my whereabouts and the police said they had never seen me and I was not there. They said that I was not at the police station. I was able to see Mbongeni through the windows and the little spaces.

I tried to call out Mbongeni's name and yelled as much as I could, but to no avail until Mbongeni left the charge office. My uncle came to the charge office. My uncle's name is Hosiah Tshabalala. There is one policeman who was called Tshabalala, then my uncle spoke to this Tshabalala man and explained the situation about me having been arrested or abducted by the Khumalo gang. That is how I was able to be taken out of that cell at about 8:00 p.m., because my uncle, who's a Tshabalala, had spoken to that policeman who is also a Tshabalala.

ADV GCABASHE: Were you with policemen and the Khumalo gang, or just with the Khumalo gang?

MR NGUBANE: It was Desa, the policeman that I had already mentioned, as well as the Khumalo gang.

ADV GCABASHE: What happened to those policemen, did they just leave you there and walk away?

MR NGUBANE: Yes, that is correct. That is how I managed to be released. Thereafter we started considering fighting seriously against Mr Khumalo, so much so that the guns that we had were not guns that we got from the organisation. It's only then that we decided to get guns by fair means or foul, because now Khumalo had waged a war against us and we had decided that we were just going to protect ourselves. We were a few members of the Youth League and Khumalo had the backing of the police, he had the guns and he had his gang.

On a particular day I was in Nxabe Street next to the public phones, and whilst we were standing there at the public phones, we heard some sound of gunfire a distance away, it could have been two streets away. We didn't see anything amiss.

We continued standing there until such time that one comrade came running at such high speed, and his name is Mtobozise, who was staying at Nxabe Section. He was so scared and shocked, he was breathing heavily and he just couldn't talk.

The other members with whom I was standing and waiting there, for instance Thozamile Mhlauli, we tried to calm him down in order for him to be able to tell us what had happened. Then he related that he was going down Nxabe(?) Street, that is Mr Khumalo's street, he was with Comrade Vusi, Tshabalala, who is a member of the ANC and a member of the Civic Association, I could refer to him as a leader in the section, as they were with Comrade Vusi Tshabalala, they got to the corner of the street, they turned towards their right into Laura Street, he noticed that as they were walking somebody that is a member of the Khumalo gang was following them at a distance and quite discreetly.

As they got to Nguni Street, this man who was following them walked quickly towards them and shot Vusi Tshabalala. He explained the assailant's appearance, as well as his dress. We tried to organise ourselves into a group. There was Bafana Baloi, myself and Lucky Mampuro, I think Thozamile was there but I'm not sure, we proceeded to the scene of the occurrence, that is where Comrade Vusi Tshabalala had been shot. When we got there, we discovered that he was dead already. As we had congregated around him, we saw Khumalo's kombi. Inside the kombi there could have been four or more. It went past, driving slowly, and they were laughing loudly, and what we noticed is that the person who had shot Vusi was inside the car, the description fitted him exactly and he was a member of the Khumalo gang. His name was Percy. They went past, laughing loudly. We decided that, should they come back, we had to shoot and kill them or throw a grenade towards them, because on that particular day, Bafana had a grenade in his possession, but we were not able to do that, because there were many people now who had come to the area and had we shown the grenade, the probability would have been that a number of people, even innocent citizens, would have been injured or killed. We decided to refrain from throwing the grenade at the Khumalo gang. We then realised that they were actually waging a war against innocent citizens who could not defend themselves, they were not now fighting against thuggism or gangsterism. We now decided to plan that we should go and bomb Mr Khumalo's house. I was present during the early stages of the planning, but on the day that the operation had to take place, I was not present, because I had gone to Soweto. Lucky Mampuro, Bafana Baloi, Nxdisi Tshabalala, Desire Xaba, all these people were present, because we worked together in such operations. A bomb or grenade was thrown, but it did not explode. That is the information that I got whilst I was in Soweto. I heard it over the radio and I knew that the people who had attempted to bomb Mr Khumalo's place were members of my particular constitution or organisation.

We undertook the second planning, that dark or blue(?), this time Mr Khumalo's house has to be successfully bombed, or we should throw a grenade and make it a point that this time the mission was accomplished. There were some other comrades who were called from surrounding areas, I think it was Vosloorus, they had been brought by Comrade Lucky Mampuro to beef up the manpower. Amongst them was a man who had an F1 grenade. We planned that we were going to go to Mr Khumalo's place at night. I'm not sure as to the time that was set.

I was present during those stages of the planning, but I was in the covering group. We used a specific strategy where there would be the ones who attack and the ones who would remain behind keeping watch or keeping guard, so I was in the covering group. We went towards Mr Khumalo's place. We heard some gunfire. Thereafter I could hear the explosion of the grenade. Then, during 1992, I think it was during the month of January, Lucky Mampuro was shot by the police.

After his death, police started harassing me, coming to my place very frequently and making threats to the effect that should they get me, they would kill me, but the most unfortunate part of it is that they did not know me facially, they could not identify me, and when they came one day they found me, they said they were looking for me and they asked me as to what Sipho looks like, they wanted me to describe myself, not knowing that they had approached me.

I gave them a wrong description and said Sipho is very tall and very dark, because I realised that they did not know me. They said I should tell Sipho, my elder brother, that if they do happen to get him, they would kill him, because there was a death warrant out for Sipho and they would kill him wherever they get him. That is the message that they said I should convey. Now thereafter I wasn't able to spend time at my place, because I was growing scared by the day.

We started barricading the streets and patrolling during the night, trying to protect ourselves as well as members of the community. Mr Khumalo one day came to my place, he was with the Stability Unit. They left a message. I had just gone out of the house when they arrived, and where I was, I was able to see them as they were getting into my yard. They left a message that they knew that I had a 303, which of course I did not have, and they said the following day I should take the gun to Mr Khumalo.

What surprised me was that they did not say I should take the gun to the police station, but they said I should take it to Mr Khumalo's place, and the Stability would go to Mr Khumalo's place, and they used to place sandbags around Mr Khumalo's yard, I think they were protecting Mr Khumalo's house or property from being damaged. That became very clear to me, that the police were collaborating with Khumalo to a very large extent.

ADV GCABASHE: Tell me, you did say that you had gone to Khumalo's house, the intention at the time was to bomb it or throw the hand grenade at it. Are you saying that that was not successful, or are you talking about a different house that Khumalo owned, now in this evidence?

MR NGUBANE: Mr Khumalo had only one house. The first instance we threw the grenade but it did explode. That's when I was in Soweto, and I heard over the radio. The second instance was when I was present, but I was in the covering group. Yes, that is correct.

ADV GCABASHE: But you see, correct me if I wrote the wrong thing here, because I wrote that you went to Khumalo's house the second time, you heard gunfire and then you heard the explosion of a grenade, and I had assumed that that was a grenade that was thrown at the house, because that was the plan. I'm just asking, what was the result of that, you didn't destroy Khumalo's house at that point?

MR NGUBANE: Yes, there was some damage, extensive damage, but it was not totally destroyed, the house was not totally destroyed, it was just damaged.

ADV GCABASHE: Thank you, that clarifies it.

MR NGUBANE: During 1992, after Lucky Mampuro had died, I was harassed by the members of the Khumalo gang, together with the police and the Stability Unit. That's when they left a message that I should take the gun to Mr Khumalo's place instead of the police station. During the year 1992, I think a few months after Lucky had passed away, there were kids at Lucky's place, he also had a sister, who were attending school at Buthle Buzele, they told me that they were being harassed at school, there is a certain man whose name I do not remember, who was particularly harassing them, and I think this man's name is Oscar, he was telling them that Lucky had died and he could do anything he wanted to them in the absence of Lucky, and this Oscar was a member of the Khumalo gang.

I ended up having to take further steps with regard to the threats, and the harassment that the children were enduring under Oscar. One morning I took an AK47 and proceeded to the school where the kids were schooling. During lunchtime, Lerato came to me, Lerato Ndwo, as well as Solly. I took them with to the Buthle Buzele School with my AK47. When I got there, it was during lunch break. Buthle Buzele is a double or triple storey building. I did not know this Oscar. I told myself that he was going to be pointed out to me. As I was walking up the stairs, there were two guys coming down the stairs. What I heard when they went past was that here's this other one who was with Lucky, they were calling him Lagoja, or using his nickname, and they said I should be shot because I was one of Lucky's friends, and they were going down the stairs whilst I was ascending the stairs.

I had already cocked my gun, there was only one bullet at the top and the magazine was concealed somewhere in my body, and this guy, who had a gun, he had a 38 auto, which resembles a 9mm. Before he took out his 38 auto, I already had my AK47 pointed at him. I pressed him against the wall, that was in the school yard now, he screamed very loudly and lifted his hands, and as he lifted his hands I could see a gun stuck in his trousers. He screamed so loudly that he actually shocked me.

I left him, I did not shoot him, I did not even run after him when he ran. I was trying to lay the background of the occurrences that took place, which led to me joining the SDU, maybe now I could get straight to the point.

MR SIBEKO: Then I assume that any other incidents that you were involved in would be starting from 1993 when you were a member of the Self Defence Unit, and upwards, is that correct?

MR NGUBANE: That is so.

ADV GCABASHE: Before you go to 1993, you didn't find Oscar, you simply left the school?

MR NGUBANE: I did find him, but I did not shoot him. He is the one who ran away.

ADV GCABASHE: No, the interpreter is saying you did find him but you didn't shoot him, was that Oscar, the one who ran away?

MR NGUBANE: Yes, that was Oscar.

MR SIBEKO: Was there any further trouble with Oscar after this incident when you confronted him?

MR NGUBANE: No, there was no further incident.

MR SIBEKO: He wasn't harassing the children, Lucky's family, anymore?

MR NGUBANE: No, it stopped right there.

MR SIBEKO: Then in 1993, what happened?

MR NGUBANE: During 1993, when the Self Defence Unit was formed, I became one of the founder members, that is after Moosa had taken over from Mafinos, because Mafinos had been demoted and expelled, Moosa was the commander and I was the deputy.

ADV GCABASHE: Tell me, Mafinos, how long was he the commander, it sounds like it was a very short time?

MR NGUBANE: I would be lying if I said I knew as to how long he reigned, but I think it's a relatively short time.

ADV GCABASHE: Did you serve at all under Mafinos?

MR NGUBANE: Yes, that is true.

CHAIRPERSON: Just a minute. There might be some difficulty with the system, just a minute, we just want to hear if the interpreters are ...(intervention).

INTERPRETER: Yes, we've just asked him to repeat himself.

CHAIRPERSON: All right, you can respond to what the interpreter was asking you.

MR NGUBANE: Could you please repeat the question?

MR SIBEKO: ... your activities in 1993 as a member of the Self Defence Unit?

MR NGUBANE: As I had already explained, we were barricading the area and we were also patrolling the area, we would also fight against our enemies. Most of the time we would go to Slovo Section and assist in fighting or defending ourselves and the community. I don't recall whether it's during 1993 or 1994, I chose seven members of the group and we launched an attack at Dube Street in Thokoza.

We were attacking members of Inkatha and the reason why we attacked them is because they were also attacking us, and we were protecting ourselves, at times launching counter-attacks, and the people I was with were Siphiwe Ndlovu, I don't recall the other ones' names.

MR SIBEKO: Were you carrying arms at Dube Street?

MR NGUBANE: That is correct, we were, we had some AK47's.

MR SIBEKO: What happened when you arrived at Dube Street?

MR NGUBANE: There had been sporadic outbreaks of violence before and as a result we had some areas which we called cover, or some cover areas. You would walk openly in a certain area, then when you get to an IFP stronghold, we would take cover and start firing. As we were launching these attacks, I do believe that some people died, others go injured.

MR SIBEKO: Is there any other incident, except the one at Dube Street?

MR NGUBANE: Yes, there is the incident which took place at Nazebogo Street, that took place between the year 1993 or '94, but during the time the commander was Moosa. We were at the office, myself, Moosa, Eddie Kambula, as well as other members of the SDU who were present.

We received a message through the two-way radio. The message was from Mandela sectoin that they needed some assistance, and there was our own secret code of calling upon each other for assistance. We were able to call other members of the SDU. We gathered, there were quite a number of us, we were more than ten, we had AK47's, all of us. We proceeded to Mandela Section. When we got to Mandela section, we arrived at their base, we came across the commander, whose name was Bonga, they showed us the place. When we got to the office, there was already gunfire going on, they just showed us as to where we should go and start firing. We did that.

MR SIBEKO: You personally fired shots and it's possible that you might have killed or injured anybody, is that correct?

MR NGUBANE: That is so.

MR SIBEKO: Is there any other incident?

MR NGUBANE: During 1994, the month was April, when the Thokoza hostel was attacked, I've forgotten the name of the hostel, I was present and I was involved.

ADV GCABASHE: Would that have been Mshayazafe?

MR NGUBANE: Yes, it is Mshayazafe. During the morning of that day, there was a fight that broke out at Slovo Section, that is where the members of the IFP regarded as a soft spot to launch their attacks. We heard that there was this fight and we proceeded to Slovo Section. We tried to launch a counter-attack and push them out of the area. We also shot the members of the IFP, there was an exchange of gunfire, until we were able to push them out of the zone, or what I could regard as their comfort zone, towards the hostel. At that point the Stability Unit was around. We went and left the guns at nearby houses in Khumalo Street, and we went and watched and pretended that we were also amongst the spectators. The Stability Unit was moving up and down. We congregated and decided that we should go have an afternoon meal or mid-morning meal, so that we could come back during the day. I think it was at about 10:00 or 11:00, we went back to the sectoin, but we were scattered, we divided ourselves into little groups, we did not walk in a large group. As we were getting into the section, just before we arrived at our places, we could hear a loud explosion at the back and the background we heard some gunfire, we had to turn back and go to Khumalo Street where we had left our guns. We retrieved our guns and went straight to the hostel. We divided ourselves into different directions. This was so that the time when we leave the sectoin, we would be a group of plus-minus 21 and when we launch an attack or counter-attack, we had a specific strategy, divide ourselves into groups, three groups of seven. We duly divided ourselves into those groups and proceeded towards the hostel. Other time people from other sections had already come out of their houses into the streets, others were not able to get to the hostel, but I was part of the group that got to the hostel. Eddie Kambula was also present.

We got into the hostel, their hostel yard, through a certain opening or a big hole. A number of others were there, burning their hostel down. There was exchange of gunfire between us and the members of the IFP, they fled the hostel and ran away. Before the Stability Unit arrived, we wanted to get out of the place, because we would just go there, launch an attack or counter-attack, and leave the area before we could be discovered by the Stability Unit. We left the hostel and went back to the section.

MR SIBEKO: Even in this incident, it's possible that you might have killed or injured anybody, is that correct?

MR NGUBANE: It is highly possible.

MR SIBEKO: Now, finally from you, sir, I notice that you are here in uniform, are you serving time for any activity or act that has to do with the violence in Thokoza, that is between '90 and 1994?

MR NGUBANE: No.

MR SIBEKO: Is there any other thing that you want to say, that you think that you have left out?

MR NGUBANE: What I would say with regard to all the incidents that took place, I think I've covered all aspects of the violence. With regards to the present situation, I think this is personal, it's got nothing to do with the incidents I have referred to. What happened now or what happens now would affect a person after quite some time, it can even affect you after five to ten years.

In all that has happened, I feel terrible, because there are a lot of people who died, some lost their loved ones, some were left orphans. Even myself, there is a lot that I've lost out on just by being involved in the struggle. I had taken it upon myself to protect myself and my community, wanting to protect the community and wanting to better the lives of members of the community, but at the end of the day I think I'm left holding the shorter end of the stick, because thereafter we did not receive any counselling, so all of these things are still affecting me gravely, I still have a vivid picture of all the things that took place. I believe that after all has been said and done, after all that we have lost, some have lost their opportunities to be educated. The atmosphere was not conducive to studying. You could not hold a gun on one hand and hold a pen in the other, and patrol at the same time. Even though the war or the fight, as well as the violence, came to an end, but still it has left an indelible mark and it has left scars that cannot be easily healed, because thereafter I never got a chance to continue with my education.

We were offered opportunities that some members of the Youth League or people who were involved in the struggle would be given opportunities to further their education or be incorporated into the SANDF. That happened, some did get the opportunity. Maybe I could count myself as one of those people who could join the SAPS, but as the time went on, I had problems in the house, because during the war situation you're not able to scrutinise the situation and look at it.

Now after the fights, we were able to stay in our houses and now you had to have a role that you play in the house or within the household. All this has affected my family. It has affected me as a person as well. I found myself working, but I was working under pressure, or pressurised to work, and now at the end of the day, you hear that all this will come to an end, because you do not quality to occupy the positions that you occupy, there would be some requirements, and I ask myself that if they are coming up with these new requirements, how would a person be able to cope, and the major problem that I have, I thought it was my problem personally, or I was the only one who was having this problem, but I have come across quite a number of people that we fought together with who's got the very same problem that I have.

This led to a realisation that we were being kicked out of the positions that we occupied, and it raises a question as to why and how are you going to cope, because we did not get involved in the situation because we wanted to be non-law abiding citizens, but we were fighting for a nation, we were fighting for the rights of other people, but at the end of the day, we end up having nothing to hold onto. We were told that we would lose our positions because we do not qualify to be in those positions, and as we collectively spoke about the problem, that is myself and the other affected members, we found ourselves being involved in taking the very same guns, that is the legal or licensed guns, and being involved in armed robberies, that is how I find myself in this situation.

I was deeply affected, because had I not been faced with this particular situation, I could have gone on with my education to my satisfaction, my family would not have been affected and I would not have been affected. These are the difficulties that I'm coming across in life.

MR SIBEKO: Thank you, Mr Chairman, I've got nothing further.

NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR SIBEKO

CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr Sibeko. Questions, Advocate Steenkamp.

ADV STEENKAMP: No questions, thank you, Mr Chairman.

NO CROSS-EXAMINATION BY ADV STEENKAMP

CHAIRPERSON: Questions by the panel.

ADV SANDI: Mr Ngubane, at the Mshayazafe Hostel, what happened when the members of the Internal Stability Unit came?

MR NGUBANE: We got into the hostel and we left the hostel before members of the Stability Unit came. We knew that members of the Stability Unit would come and attack us and not members of Inkatha. Whenever there was a fight, they would come behind us and in front of us would be members of Inkatha attacking us from the front and the Stability Unit would attack from the back, and we gave ourselves time within which to launch an attack and escape.

ADV SANDI: Did you say as the result of your attack at Mshayazafe Hostel, the occupants of those hostels left, did you say they abandoned those hostels?

MR NGUBANE: I wouldn't say they abandoned the hostel. There were some who remained staying there.

ADV SANDI: Going back to the time when you were arrested, you say you were hiding at some yard when someone came pointing a firearm at you. Now you said these people were swearing at you, calling you with all sorts of names, they said you were a dog, for example, are you able to remember what else they had to say when they were swearing at you, what were they saying when they were swearing at you?

MR NGUBANE: They said that we were dogs which went around killing people.

ADV SANDI: Okay, thank you, thank you, chair.

ADV GCABASHE: Thank you, chair. The 1993 activities, when you were barricading, when you were patrolling, were you also confiscating firearms from gang members, if you came across them, what exactly were you doing?

MR NGUBANE: During 1993, the guns that we used were the defence guns.

ADV GCABASHE: I understand that, but the incidents that you note for 1993, the first one was that you used to barricade and you used to patrol. What exactly did you do, because the evidence that we have before this hearing, from other members of the SDU's, was in those patrols, for instance, if you came across gang members, you would take their firearms off them, and I just want to make sure that you were part of that activity, that's all?

MR NGUBANE: I don't know of such a thing of patrolling and searching and whoever came across a gun or an illegal firearm, it would be confiscated.

ADV GCABASHE: Then with the Dube Street incident, which was the next one you told us about, you said that, "I chose certain members of the group and we launched an attack at Dube Street". Was that attack sanctioned by Moosa, as your commander, or by the committee of seven, just help me with that?

MR NGUBANE: As his deputy, when Moosa was not present, I took the sole responsibility.

ADV GCABASHE: In the Mshayazafe incident, was that the incident where that white journalist was killed, I'm just trying to tie up my incidents, if you can help me with that?

MR NGUBANE: That is correct.

ADV GCABASHE: Thank you very much, Mr Ngubane. Thank you, chair.

NO RE-EXAMINATION BY MR SIBEKO

CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you, Mr Ngubane, you're excused.

WITNESS EXCUSED

CHAIRPERSON: We'll adjourn for lunch.

COMMITTEE ADJOURNS

 

 
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